John Oliver tackled Brazil’s controversial election in his latest episode of Last Week Tonight.
Oliver opened by poking fun at Brazil’s truly innovative political ads, which seem to predominately feature true experts on the topic, including men dressed as chickens, Robin, Captain America and Spiderman, to name a few. However, the comedian didn’t keep it light for long and quickly transitioned into Brazil’s Sunday election, in which the country almost elected “a dangerous ideologue with potentially disastrous consequences.”
Brazil is teetering on unsteady ground to begin with, both recovering from a terrible recession and maintaining crime rates so high they’re hard to comprehend (with 30 percent of citizens in Rio reporting having been in the middle of crossfire in the last year, according to Oliver). Now, the country is dealing with the choice between Congressman Jair Bolsonaro and former Sao Paolo mayor Fernando Haddad for president, and according to Oliver, they’re not leaning in the right direction.
Sunday held the first round of voting, in which two scenarios were possible: Either two candidates to be chosen between later this month in the run-off election would emerge, or, in the case that one candidate got over 50 percent of the vote, Brazil would end the night with a new president.
Oliver examined both candidates, starting with Haddad, who is basically running as a replica of his party-mate and former president-turned-prisoner, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”). Pointing to statistics saying that Lula would probably win if allowed to run again for president while in prison, the comedian sympathizes with Brazil.
“Electing a president who’s already in prison for corruption does save you the seemingly inevitable hassle of having to put your president in prison for corruption,” said Oliver. “It’s a time saver if nothing else.”
Unfortunately, many of Brazil’s citizens don’t seem to be quite as supportive of Haddad as they are of Lula and are instead coming out in droves for far-right candidate Bolsonaro.
“The nicest thing you can say for him is that he has not been implicated in a corruption investigation, yet,” said Oliver. “Unfortunately that’s literally the only nice thing that I can possibly find to say about him because he is a terrible human being.”
“For starters, he is a big fan of finger guns,” points out Oliver. “And look, liking finger guns, as far as I’m concerned, is an immediate character flaw.”
He’s not wrong, but it doesn’t end there—Bolsonaro also wants to withdraw Brazil from the Paris Climate Agreement, harshen law enforcement, weaken environmental regulations, make it easier to get guns and is anti-refugee. Also, he’s “in favor of a dictatorship.” (Not saying this sounds familiar, but … he’s literally being referred to as the “Brazilian Trump.” Feel free to skip over Oliver’s description of a “Brazilian Trump” bikini wax if you don’t want to feel icky for the rest of the day.)
Much of the rest of the segment pulls video of Bolsonaro saying all kinds of ridiculous things that generally wouldn’t be allowed, like threatening to harm a congresswoman and confusing Ellen Page with blatant flirtation (“Do you know how hard it is to confuse Ellen Page? She was in Inception, that should be simply impossible”).
As of the taping, results of the election weren’t yet finalized, though Bolsonaro did end up claiming 46 percent of the vote, with Haddad trailing at just over 29 percent, so there will be a run-off election.
“Brazil, please, look, I realize that you’re disgusted with your politics at the moment and you’re not inspired by any of the alternatives,” pleads Oliver, finishing out the segment. “But anything is better than Bolsonaro.”
Check out the segment below.